John Michael "Mike" Kennedy: New Waterford
It is with heavy hearts that we the family announce the passing of Mike Kennedy age 68, on Saturday, June 10th, 2017 at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, Sydney. Born in New Waterford, Mike was the youngest son of the late Archie and Maddie (Hutchison) Kennedy. He was a member of the former St. Agnes Parish and more recently the Parish of St. Leonard’s.
A respected and popular physical education teacher, teaching most of his 33 year career at St. Agnes Elementary School in New Waterford. After retirement he continued to volunteer at the school, contributing another 12 years to the children in the community. As a member of the KOC, Mike coordinated the Annual Elementary Track & Field Meet. He was well known for his passion in athletics and was a positive role model for many young school children. Mike was a member of the New Waterford & District Sports Hall of Fame since its inception in 2013.
While attending Teachers College Mike was a standout athlete, playing both soccer and basketball. In subsequent years he was a pivotal player on many local, provincial, and regional championship teams. Mike was an all-around athlete also excelling in softball. As a soccer player, Mike was considered as one of the finest players ever developed in New Waterford.
Mike spent many hours in the gym and on the field as a coach and volunteer. He was founder of the New Waterford Minor Common School Basketball league and integral in the New Waterford Mini Coal Bowl basketball tournament for boys and the Jim Fox Chiasson Tournament for girls. Mike would never talk about his achievements but took pride in the New Waterford Common School Basketball League, which has now been active 40 seasons. This is perhaps Mike’s true legacy to his hometown, providing low cost basketball for thousands of kids. For his years of dedication Mike was honored in 2014 by the community with the “Mike Kennedy Basketball Court” built near St. Agnes Elementary School.
Mike is survived by his wife of 41 years, Rose Anne (O’Keefe); daughters Kelly (Dale Nelson), Julie (Colin) Parnell; son Scott; grandchildren, Mary and Andrew Nelson, and Katelyn and Hannah Parnell. He is also survived by his sisters Carmel Kennedy, Mary (Alex) MacLeod, Kay (Ray) MacNeil, Beverly (Harold Peverill) Arenburg, Anita (Rene) Chevrefils, Cecilia (John Barry); brother Frank (Loveina Kavanaugh). Mike will also be sadly missed by his mother-in-law Jessie O’Keefe as well as many nieces, nephews that he dearly loved; including Tammy Martin (and her daughter Baillie Poirier) whom he considered a little sister.
Besides his parents, Mike was predeceased by his father-in-law James O’Keefe; brother Leo Kennedy; sister Shirley Nearing; brother-in-law Ray Nearing; and, sister-in-law Nancy Kennedy.
Cremation has taken place. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, June 14 from 2-4 pm and 7-9pm in V.J. McGillivray Funeral Home, 380 Smith Street, New Waterford. The funeral mass will take place on Thursday, June 15 at 10:00am in the Parish Church of Saint Leonard, Mount Carmel Ave., with Fr. Ray Huntley officiating. Interment will follow in St. Agnes Cemetery.
A luncheon will follow at the Parish Hall, Convent St., New Waterford. All are welcome.
Special thanks to the staff at the ICU and Palliative Care at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Cape Breton Cancer Centre.
Online expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at: www.vjmcgillivray.ca.